5 insights from a professional grant writer!

Whether you paint, perform, or do other artistic work, your work is important now more than ever. Thankfully, it’s not just artists that realize this: a slew of private capital has been thrown into empowering these artists in the form of grants. In the US alone, over $718,000,000 was awarded in 2012 to performing artists, and $1.3 billion more was allocated to other art disciplines.

GrantPA sat down with professional grant writer Sunny Stich in order to better understand the grant writing process. Sunny has worked for 16 years in grant writing, and has secured grants for organizations as large as $1.5 million. (!)

In chatting with Sunny, we learned more about grants, where to place your focus as an applicant, and common mistakes made when writing a grant proposal.

  1. What is a grant?
    A grant is a mechanism by which non-profit entities or individuals can access private and public funding. Grants empower people and organizations to tell their story to funders so that their projects can receive money essential to their completion.
  2. What contributes to the success of an application?
    Write your application succinctly! Don’t ramble trying to impress anyone. This means short, quick, and tight paragraphs.
  3. What is the average time an application takes?
    An application can take you 1 hour, 10 hours, or over 30 hours — it just depends on the funder. It’s important to develop a template of your own that answers commonly asked questions and save it on your computer or in the cloud. You can then cut and paste your answers to commonly asked questions into any application you are submitting to and personalize it accordingly.
  4. Can I write a successful application with my limited writing skills?
    Yes, you can! Applications from multilingual artists or those whose first language isn’t English will not have the same English proficiency as those who have an English writing expertise, and funders recognize that.
  5. What should I focus on the most when applying?
    Focus on the need for the project and a clear definition of what exactly the project is doing. Personally, I stress need most of all. I begin with defining what brought me to start the project. Then, I dig into my motivation behind asking for the grant, and what the project will accomplish. These questions need to be answered in 1–2 sentences.
    There are a lot of things that most applicants overlook. A lot of applicants don’t listen carefully. When you ask the funder for information, let them talk! Listen, take notes, ask questions, and be clear on what you are applying for. Successful applicants really understand the application, answer questions directly, and actively cultivate a relationship with the funder.
Successful applicants really understand the application, answer questions directly, and actively cultivate a relationship with the funder.

Thanks for reading! Let us know if you have other questions you’re interested in learning about. And don’t forget to click the heart below if this was helpful! It helps more people see the post, and gives you an extra bit of good karma :)